Choose your country

Or view all businesses for sale



Buying a Gas Station in Canada: Everything You Need to Know

Unlock the potential of operating a gas station in Canada with our comprehensive guide. We’ll walk you through the financial prospects and operational must-knows for success in 2024.

As you meander along the roads from Ottawa to North Bay on a peaceful Sunday, it becomes clear that gas stations are seemingly everywhere in Canada. That’s with good reason, too - we have a truly huge country and an ever-increasing number of cars on the road.

You might catch yourself considering the idea of owning one. With everyone needing fuel just as they do bread and butter, it certainly has its allure as a potentially lucrative business opportunity.

In this article, we're providing a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about buying, operating, and succeeding at gas station ownership in Canada.

The Appeal of Buying a Gas Station in Canada

Investing in a gas station is more than just crunching numbers and watching the bottom line. It's about stepping into a role that plants you right at the heart of everyday life for many Canadians.

With roughly 12,000 stations peppered across Canada (averaging about 3.1 per every 10,000 people), the sector not only remains vibrant but also integral to communities large and small. In fact, this industry isn't simply fuel pumps, it drives $35.8 billion in revenue as of 2024 and gives jobs to over 35,000 individuals.

Profits and income streams aside, there’s something else pulling entrepreneurs toward Canadian gas stations: the sense of belonging and connection with local folks. For those dreaming of self-employment and the tree change that comes with rural living, running a gas station puts you on a first-name basis with the locals and makes you a big part of the community.

Yes, fuel sales took a hit during the pandemic, but they're now climbing steadily toward the pre-COVID figures, with revenues of gas stations (with convenience stores) predicted to reach $28 billion by the end of 2024. This bounce-back hints at sustained need and offers encouraging signs for anyone eyeing long-term gains from such an investment.

gas station

The Basics for Gas Station Owners: Handling Finances, Rules, and Everyday Tasks

Owning a gas station means getting comfortable with the nuts and bolts of money matters, staying sharp on regulations you need to follow, and keeping things running smoothly every day.

These are the key points that anyone looking at buying into this business should know.

The Financial Side of Running a Gas Station

Running a gas station can be profitable, but it’s no walk in the park. You need sharp planning skills and financial know-how.

Start with understanding that buying one isn’t cheap; costs swing widely based on location, size, and how modern the place is. After you get past that big buy-in cost, expect to keep an eye on ongoing expenses like staff wages, utility bills, and stocking up your inventory.

So where's the money coming from?

  • Gas Sales: It’s what everyone stops for, but making cash off fuel alone is tough. The margins are tight.
  • Car Servicing and Repair: This can bring in some good dough if people trust you'll fix their ride right.
  • Tires: Selling tires (and fitting them, too) could mean solid earnings if lots of cars roll by your way.
  • Convenience Store Items: Where there's room for markup—snacks and drinks can plump up those profit lines nicely.
  • Tobacco Products: They sell consistently but make sure you’re sticking to regulations tightly.
  • Coffee Shop or Diner Add-On: If space allows, this could draw folks in not just for quick pit-stops but longer stays and potentially more sales while they linger.

Profit margins from selling gasoline and diesel tend to be slim, which is why those extra services are key—they boost your bottom line. In Canada, the average profit margin for gas stations sits at around 6.4%.

These additional profit sources add variety and provide a steadier stream of revenue that can hold up even when the economy wobbles. For anyone eyeing ownership, it's important to take a close look at the gas station's financial track record.

Reviewing its past financial statements gives you insight into what money might come in down the road and how good of an investment this could be. Careful planning for the busy rushes and slower lulls—plus smart management of inventory and employees—can really help maximize profits.

Understanding Regulations for Gas Station Ownership

When you enter the arena of gas station ownership in Canada, you're also entering a world where attention to detail regarding environmental and safety regulations is a daily part of life.

Dealing with hazardous materials comes with great responsibility, hence the regulatory landscape is thorough and multi-layered, touching everything from federal laws down to local bylaws. As a soon-to-be owner, immersing yourself in these guidelines is non-negotiable:

  • Storage Tanks Under Canadian Environmental Protection Act: Look here for rules on how storage tanks should be installed and cared for—important stuff like preventing leaks that could harm our environment.
  • Hazardous Products Act: This law is about making sure any risky substances are clearly marked, and everyone knows what they're handling through easy-to-access safety data sheets (WHMIS).
  • Gasoline Environmental Guidelines: These differ across provinces but think of them as instructions tailored to keep petroleum operations eco-friendly within each locale.
  • Fire Code Standards: Keeping fuel dispensing safe goes hand-in-hand with avoiding fires. Fire codes lay out precisely how equipment should operate so that everything stays secure.
  • Municipal Bylaws: Local particulars can vary from signs outside your store to when you can open your shop or even where you set up business. Coordinating all your permits demands effort (and probably quite a bit of paperwork), and it includes things like environmental check-ups and frequent inspections.

Staying sharp on legislative updates keeps hefty fines or legal woes off your doorstep. If navigating this maze sounds daunting, don’t hesitate to bring an expert on board, someone knowledgeable in both business law and keen on ecological stipulations to ensure every box gets ticked properly right from the jump.

gas station

Running a Gas Station: Behind the Scenes

Managing day-to-day life at a gas station calls for careful attention to detail and an active management style.

You'll be making sure customers are swiftly and warmly attended to, that your space is tidy and hazard-free, that you keep tabs on inventory levels, and that you keep technology up to date. Each piece is crucial for happy customers and a thriving business.

In this digital age, technology is front and center in fuel stations. Think of electronic payment systems, software to monitor fuel dispensing, or high-tech security measures.

Training your team isn't something you can gloss over, either. They need the know-how for smooth day-to-day operations. From being pros at using all equipment, to tackling any urgent situations head-on.

And let’s not forget about creating a secure workplace. Implementing safeguards such as drop-safes or reinforced glass especially if you’re operating in spots where safety might be an issue.

Building rapport with suppliers helps pave smoother roads. Regular check-ups of pumps and chillers alike keep everything humming nicely while thinking green could shave some costs off your bills. This not only benefits Mother Nature but potentially lets you better service those who come through your doors.

What are the Biggest Gas Station Franchises in Canada?

If you're interested in owning a gas station, joining forces with an established fuel retail chain can be a savvy move.

Franchising means stepping into the shoes of a business that already has brand recognition, loyal customers, and set operational methods—all with the backing of the parent company.

Let's take a look at some notable franchises up for grabs across Canada:

  • Petro-Canada (formerly Gulf Canada): This is one brand you see everywhere. It’s well-known and offers solid guidance on running your operations smoothly, along with training your crew to shine.
  • Esso: It stands out thanks to its recognizable name and enticing reward programs that keep folks coming back.
  • Shell Canada: Offers a comprehensive training programme as well as a recognised brand name and ongoing support.
  • Canadian Tire Petroleum: By hitching itself to the Canadian Tire wagon, these stations pull in crowds by offering points they can spend at the main stores—a smart play on cross-promotion.
  • OLCO: With roots deep in Quebec and Ontario communities, OLCO brings competitive pricing strategies into local hands.
  • Ultramar: Strongly established in Eastern provinces, Ultramar equips franchisees with support and loyalty plans sure to win over patrons time after time.

Roughly 22% of gas spots nationwide set prices according to controls set by refiner marketers, while others have free reign to set their own prices. Depending on where you plant yourself could mean different ways, and how much you earn as part of this industry.

Electric Vehicles and the Future of Fuel Retailing


The shape of driving is shifting, with electric vehicles (EVs) picking up popularity. Despite over 86,000 EVs being registered across Canada, only 383 gas stations currently offer charging options—a clear gap as we cruise into an increasingly electric future.

Given that selling fuel alone often comes with tight margins, opening up to the world of EV charging stands out as a smart move for gas station operators who want to stay ahead.

Rather than going it alone though, finding common ground with known players like Electrify Canada or FLO could be the ticket to claiming your stake within this growing arena.

Fueling Your Future in Canada

Buying a gas station in Canada offers significant opportunities for engagement with local communities, stable income through diverse revenue streams, and the potential to adapt to the evolving industry by incorporating EV charging services.

Before diving into this venture, prospective buyers should diligently review the financial, regulatory, and operational aspects of gas station ownership.

For those ready to take the next step towards achieving their business dreams, a wealth of options awaits. Explore current listings of gas stations for sale across Canada here and begin your journey in the fuel retail industry today.


Q: How much does it cost to buy a gas station in Canada?

Prices fluctuate quite a bit based on where it’s located, how big it is, and what extra services it offers. You're likely looking at anywhere from $300,000 to well over $1 million.

Q: Is owning a gas station profitable in Canada?

It certainly can be. Especially if you've got some bonus features like car washes or convenience stores that add to your income streams.

Q: How much does a gas station owner earn in Canada?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer here because many factors come into play—but generally speaking, profits could hover around $70,000 to $100,000 each year, depending largely on where your station is and how smoothly it operates.

Q: What Canadian gas station makes the most money?

You'll find that stations getting lots of traffic (those situated by major roads or nestled within well-to-do city neighbourhoods) usually top the charts with their sales numbers thanks to all those customers flowing through.

Q: Is a gas station a good investment in Ontario?

Yes, the province has plenty of cars on the road and people needing fuel-up spots. If you land somewhere with high footfall or few existing service options nearby, then positions are primed for promising financial outcomes due to Ontario’s large population and sprawling highways.

Stuart Wood

About the author

Stuart is Editorial Manager at He has worked as Editor for a B2B publisher, Content Manager for a PR firm, and most recently as a Copywriter for Barclays.